Applying Innovation Diffusion Theory to the Management of Change (Classic Reprint)by Dorothy Leonard-Barton
Management today usually involves, at some level, the management of change - the Introduction of innovation either into one's own or into a client organization. While the most visible symbol of that change may be hardware (e.g., an office automation system), significant technological
Excerpt from Applying Innovation Diffusion Theory to the Management of Change
Management today usually involves, at some level, the management of change - the Introduction of innovation either into one's own or into a client organization. While the most visible symbol of that change may be hardware (e.g., an office automation system), significant technological changes are always accompanied by social and psychological change as well. In fact, both the slope and the shape of the S-shaped curve which describes the dissemination of an innovation among adopters (see Figure 1) are heavily influenced by social and psychological responses to the way the innovation diffusion process is managed. This paper sets out several advances in the theory of innovation diffusion which seem especially relevant to management problems and the introduction of new technologies.
Before enumerating those additions to traditional diffusion theory, a few words about the general theory are needed. Advocates of an innovation explore the dynamics of diffusion in order to accelerate change and avoid implementation pitfalls. As in the case of marketing or implementation theory, there is an implicit pro-innovation bias in the approach. However, diffusion issues are seldom limited to the process of "selling" an innovation. In the great majority of studies out of which diffusion theory has grown, the acceptance of the innovation being researched required of the adopter a significant commitment in financial, psychological and/or social terms.
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